It began to occur to Wang, that the life of an Extra Terrestrial sent to investigate human behaviour could be a difficult one. Especially so if the mission was based in a regional town in Australia
Wang blinked through bloodshot eyes and the haze of light that invaded his small room. Working nights was not agreeing with him. Weekends concluded at two or three in the morning and the summer sun would disturb him anytime from five. The pub work itself was not wholly disagreeable. Once he had adjusted to the odd use of language (primarily grunts, mumbles and profanity that passed for humour) and could decipher the orders whilst loud music assaulted his senses, the rest was trivial.
Admittedly, the bureaucracy of ‘responsible service’ was a perplexing manifestation of government intervention and hypocrisy that Wang simple couldn’t process effectively.
As far as he could tell, intoxicated behaviour was causing significant social issues, drunk driving, property damage and beyond. Instead of adequately educating the population or prohibiting sales of alcohol (which has historically not worked well), the government decided to blame those who served it. If someone enters the pub, Wang pours them a drink. The pub’s licence holder (and now Wang as he was employed by said licence holder) was somewhat responsible for the customer’s behaviour. If they walked outside and got hit by a car, the pub may have to pay damages. Therefore, personal responsibility was being outsourced to the authorities and the legal system.
‘Is that all human society does?’ He wondered. ‘The problems don’t go away; they simply move them.’
There was a loud clang and revving of an engine outside Wang’s small unit window. It was the garbage truck that had awoken him this morning, not the sun. It rumbled up to the front of his property and, following the usual routine, grabbed the green bin on wheels with the hefty metal contraption and disgorged the contents within the rumbling beast. All of Wang’s troubles left with the truck. He put on his uniform, ate some breakfast, and wrote his reports. After staring at a device that beamed distraction into his household for a short time (more commonly known as a “T.V.”), he made his way to work.
He didn’t often work during the day, but he enjoyed the change of pace. The sun was up, people were smiling (and not from alcohol). He entered the pub and greeted his boss with a nod.
There was a customer at the bar, Larry. He was staring at a piece of paper while he nursed a beer.
‘What the hell,’ he mumbled.
‘What’s up Larry?’ Wang’s boss asked.
‘Rates notice. I’m paying a bloody fortune, aren’t my taxes enough?’
‘Aren’t we all? Someone’s got to pump your shit away.’
‘That’s why I come here,’ both men chuckled, the paper went away, and Larry proceeded to tell his woes to any staff who would listen. The problems didn’t go away; they were merely spread across different shoulders. Wang recalled another recently learned expression ‘a trouble shared is a trouble halved.’
‘Perhaps,’ he thought, ‘perhaps.’